Goma: how to live with Nyiragongo

Few people would have heard of Mount Nyiragongo before its current eruption. There are some cities that we know live in the shadow of a volcano. Naples and Vesuvius, Catania and Etna, Seattle and Rainier (although the city itself is unlikely be affected by an eruption), Fuji and Tokyo (with the same proviso). But Nyiragongo is worse than any of these. It erupts often (the current eruption is number 35 since 1882). The effusive lava is very fluid and moves fast. Worse, the mountain is extremely steep for this type of eruptions, reaching 50 degrees near the summit. The lava flow can reach speeds approaching 100 km/h. And the city of Goma, with half a million people, lies directly in one of the paths the flows can take. Finally, this is in the DRC, perhaps the country worst equipped to deal with volcanic risks. Both the 1977 and 2002 flank eruptions had a significant number of fatalities in Goma. In 2002, 13% of the city was covered by 2-meter thick lava as it flowed towards Lake Kivu. And fatalities continued long after the eruption had ended.

Since 1970, there have been 25 volcanic eruptions worldwide with fatalities. By far the worst was Nevado del Ruiz, where 23,000 people died. Second is El Chichon, followed by Pinatubo, Anak Krakatau and Merapi. (In my opinion, Kazbek should be added to the list.) Nyiragonga was already the only volcano to appear in this list twice, with both appearances among the 10 worst eruptions of the past 50 years. And now it is in this list 3 times.

(The number of eruptions worldwide with fatalities has increased dramatically in recent years. Since 2010, there has been on average one such event per year. Before that it was much less. In two cases tourism was involved, but the others were people living in the wrong place. With volcanoes, precaution is the only effective strategy.)

People crossing the hot lava on foot, the day after the 2002 eruption. Many burn wounds resulted. Heavy rain a few weeks later caused dense fog and gas, which led to further fatalities. Luckily the 2021 eruption was in the dry season

We often discuss the dangers of explosive eruptions, and point at Krakatau, Tambora or El Chicohn. Those kinds of eruptions are huge, devastating, and unpredictable. Often the culprit was not recognized as dangerous prior to the explosion. Effusive eruptions are more sedate, tourist-friendly, and predictable but also more frequent. We acknowledge the damage they can still do, and the desperation of people seeing their home engulfed by lava. There is no such thing as a friendly volcano. But Goma finds itself in the worst of both worlds. Its mountain suffers frequent effusive eruptions which come fast and without warning, and are as deadly as explosive eruptions would be. And it is not only the lava. The gas emissions cause acid rain which can damage plant and tree growth on the mountain. Near the crater rim, underneath the volcanic plume, the rain can have pH as low as 2. Low pH and high fluoride has been measured as far as the village of Rusayo, 10 km from the summit.

Geologically, Nyiragongo is part of a cluster of volcanoes, two of which remain active. Together they form the Virunga bulge, home of wonders including the impenetrable forest and its mountain gorillas. The bulge sits at the intersection of the Albertine rift (the western branch of the African rift, running north-south – the volcano, as well as Goma and Lake Kiva are located in the rift), and the Kamatemba rift (running northwest to southeast into the Albertine rift). Exactly what feeds the volcanoes is being studied, but a crossing of two rift indicates this is a weak spot. Two magma chambers are suspected, one shallow and one 14 km deep.

The unusual lava of Nyiragongo is attributed to a melting of a carbonated mantle. It differs from all other lavas in Virunga. This seems related to the depth: its magma formed from a much deeper melt than elsewhere in the Virungas. The lava is often claimed to have the lowest viscosity of any volcano known but this is disputed. It is fluid, but the extreme speed of the lava is caused mainly by the steepness of the cone.

The steep cone is not what one would expect from low viscosity lava. It should have build a very broad shield, not a cone. The mountain cannot have been build by these lava flows. There are several possibilities. There may have been a very recent change in the magma. But none of the lavas seen in this area can build such a steep cone. The second possibility is that the mountain was not build from the outside but from the inside. The mountain is in effect the sides of the conduit. Magma rises, forms a lava lake, and the lava lake solidifies against the sides and adds bulk to the mountain. The magma builds the mountain around it. Because this builds the mountain with solidified rather than liquid rock, it can be much steeper than flowing lava would allow. The lava lake has several benches: these benches are how the mountain grows.

The 1.2-km wide, deep crater of Nyiragongo hosts the largest lava lake in the world, some 200 meters wide. The mountain is 3470 meters tall; the lava lake is typically at a height of 2700-3000 meters, while Lake Kivu is at 1470 meters. You can imagine the stress that the sides of the mountain are under! It carries a 1-km wide bucket of lava at the narrow tip of a steep cone. The sides of Nyiragongo are indeed riddled with rifts, many of which are unmapped because of the dense vegetation. These rifts can feed the eruptions, as they did in 1977 and 2002, and apparently also in 2021.

The volcano is about 12,000 years old; the current deep crater is though to have formed a few hundred years ago through caldera collapse. There have been previous collapses: there are two other but extinct craters of similar size, one located two kilometers north (Baruta: visible on the image) and one 2 kilometer south of the current crater (Shaheru). The three cratered cones are aligned: there seems to be a short north-south rift underneath Nyiragongo. This rift follows the direction of the Albertine rift and therefore may have benefited from spreading in the Albertine. In contrast, the Virunga volcanoes overall follow an east-west line. Although the parasitic cones are themselves extinct, they are not immune. During the 1977 eruption, lava erupted inside Shaheru crater.

The flows and source of the 2021 eruption. Click on the image for full resolution. Sentinel image from June 2020

The 1977 eruption formed a rift just above the Shaheru crater; lava flowed into this crater. The 2002 eruption showed lava fountaining above Shaheru from the same fracture. But the 2002 eruption extended this rift much further. The southern flank of Shaheru was ruptured in two places, 300 meters apart. The rift extended downward towards Goma, causing small grabens with lava fountains in several place along the way. These fissures reached the city itself.

Capella radar image of Nyiragongo (https://twitter.com/RaphaelGrandin/status/1396948118067888128). The rift that was active in the 1977 and 2002 eruptions is indicated by the oval.

The 2021 eruption appeared to have started just southeast of the Shaheru crater, close to previous flows. The lava appear to have come through the same fissure as in 1977. The flow split in two, with the longest one heading south, ending within the Goma suburbs close to the airport runway. In the day after the eruption, Goma was hit by several earthquakes which caused cracks in roads. This seems to have extended the activity of 2002, when minor rifting and gas emission was seen 500 meters beyond the lava flows, as far as the airport. In 2021 it reached just off-shore into Lake Kivu. A long crack in the N2 road parallel to the coast also suggests some ground movement within the lake. The rift has thus progressed from 1997 when it formed as 2-kilometer long fracture, to 2002 when it extended by 15 kilometer, to 2021 when it added a further kilometer. Note that this does not mean it is exactly the same crack. Rifts have a certain width and the new crack may be next to and parallel to the previous one.

The eruptions are fed not from a magma chamber but from the existing lava lake. This means there is little or no tremor preceding the eruption as there is no rising magma. Instead, they start when the growing pressure of the lava lake breaks through the steep sides of the cone (a fate the Geldingadalir walls are trying to avoid), involving tectonic earthquakes. In 2002, the eruption was preceded by an M4 earthquake two weeks earlier. This earthquake may be when the break first began to form. The 2021 eruption did not have a clear precursor earthquake. (An earlier claim in this post for a precursor earthquake was based on an erroneous location.) The aftermath is also the same. In 2002 there was earthquake activity on a line between Goma and Nyiragongo for 5 days after the eruption, with the strongest even M5, and in 2021 there were several earthquakes in the day after the eruption also peaking at M5. This pattern adds some predictability to the Nyiragongo eruptions.

But this expanding rifting activity points to another major danger, beyond that of an eruption in the heart of the city. This mountain seems unstable. The rifts in the side are integral to the mountain (that can be seen because many of them directly feed volcanic gasses into the water system). There could be a failure where two of the side rifts combine and one side of the mountain slides down-hill. Such an event would be catastrophic. Most volcanoes in the Virungas show no evidence for a flank failure, but the extinct Mount Sabyinyo does have a big gap in its side and on satellite mages a 1-km wide crater, 2 km southeast of Mount Karimbi also seems to have a gap on the side facing away from Karimbi.

But let’s look at Goma itself. Why build a major city in a place where it has been hit by lava streams three times in the past 50 years?

Goma is at the border with Rwanda. Gisyeni, the part of Goma on the Rwandan side is well connected to the Rwandan capital, Kigali. Travel in the DRC can be more difficult. The area is very densely populated, fertile, with mild tropical climate. The Rwandan genocide in 1994 caused many refugees to flee to Goma, with rebel movements following. The area has remained rebellious and it is not always under control of the central government. People are attracted by the mineral wealth of the DRC. This should be a fabulously wealthy country. Instead, the wealth goes to however manages to profit most. Some of the rebels have a cause. Others just want the wealth for themselves. And earlier this year, the Italian ambassador (who also helped to run the world food program here) was killed by rebels, in a kidnap that went wrong.

And in spite of the insecurity, Goma has grown rapidly. The current population is estimated at 670,000, growing at 5% per year. It is now three times the size it was during the devastating 2002 eruption, and ten times that during the 1977 eruption! New roads have been build (many by Chinese contractors), on top of the 2002 lava.

In view of such unstoppable growth, where do people live? They can’t go east, towards Rwanda, as Gisenyi is too small and itself has no room to expand. West gives some space but quickly takes them out of the rift valley. South lies the lake. So the city grows west along the lake shore, and north on the plains leading to the Virunga mountains. Much of the land is already taken, and so people build houses where they find unoccupied space. People have to get to work, using the taxis, any ride they can get, or by walking. So they live near the roads. Conveniently, there is space here which is not farmed or otherwise occupied. That is, they build their houses on top of the recent lava flows.

A time line shows the growth of Goma. The image below is from 2005, when the 2002 lava flows are still visible.

Goma, 2005

The most recent image, from 2019, shows dramatic changes.

Goma, 2019. Click on the image or here to see a timeline

Putting the Google earth images together (thanks Gijs, Lughduniense!) shows the rapid expansion in a time line of Goma’s growth towards Nyiaragongo..

As you can see, the expansion of the city follows the 2002 lava flows very well, along the roads build on those flows.

But the lava flowed along those paths for a reason. Nyiragongo can erupt in all directions, but in the three major eruptions of the past 50 years the lava has gone south, following the underlying north-south weakness in the mountain. This rift formed in 1977 eruption, was re-activated in 2002 and possibly again in 2021, extending through the city and now into the lake. The rift provides a pathway for the lava which inevitably ends up in the same area as before, following very similar flow paths towards the lowest points. The people are living on a ticking time bomb.

They do so not by choice, but because they too have to live. These are not refugee camps, put wherever others can’t see their plight. They need houses to live and places to work. They are people just like us.

And now Nyiragongo has erupted again. The precursors were too weak to be seen on the few available instruments and by the few scientists. Do not expect magma signals: the lava is already in situ and all it needs is to break through the crater wall. The precursor was probably a faint tectonic signal. People knew that a new eruption was imminent. The lava lake had grown too big. But they did not know when. Suddenly the sky went red and the lava came. Eruptions of Nyiragongo only last a few hours. By the time the alarm was raised and the evacuations had started, the lava was already among the people. We do not know yet how many casualties there were. So far, 500 houses are reported buried, 23 people died from the eruption and 9 from a big traffic accident in the evacuation. The real toll will be higher and may never be known.

Proposals have been made to safeguard Goma. Dams could be build to divert the lava around the most endangered area in east Goma. The problem is that this would divert the lava towards other areas that are just as densely populated. Warning systems have been proposed, already 25 years ago. But hardware on the ground does not last long, often due to theft. Before the 2002 eruption, only 2 of 5 installed seismographs were still working. The rangers who lead the expeditions to the lava lake do report anything unusual – but it needs people to collate and analyse the reports. The 2002 eruption has been predicted in advance by the local scientists, based on reports from the rangers and the little instruments they had. There was failure of action on these warning by the authorities – who in any case do not carry much authority here. The 2021 eruption was expected but was not predicted.

What can be done? Monitoring from space is difficult because of the near-perpetual cloud cover over the peaks. Seismographs could be placed in Rwanda, not many kilometers away. But that is a different country and they cannot issue warnings for Goma. With such a volcano, an eruption warning needs to be instantaneous (in 2002 lava reached Goma within 20 minutes, and because the rifts extends into the city the eruption could in theory begin within the city limits), and should be unmissable. It can be done – even here, most people have mobile phones. Pre-eruption warnings need to be accurate, otherwise they will quickly be ignored. That requires significant scientific effort. And finally, we need predictions where lava is most likely to flow, and discourage people from living there. East Goma in particular should not be there. That may be the hardest task of all.

Goma was lucky this time. But there will be a next time. And one after that. And one day this could become the Pompeii of the tropics.

Albert, May 2021

Addendum 27 May 2021

A new INSAR image has appeared show ing spectacular changes in the rift valley. The image shows the changes between 19 and 25 May (i.e. including the eruption but not the subsequent tectonic activity). It is reproduced here (at reduced resolution), with the original taken from https://pbs.twimg.com/media/E2U9GXEWEAU55XF. The INSAR data is also available from https://sarviews-hazards.alaska.edu/Event/221?pinned=d989972a-8f8e-4337-9744-f9dbb668ef33,406295fb-403e-4604-acc9-4cd65ddeae09

Sentinel INSAR data, 19-25 May 2021

This looks very much like a dike intrusion but there are two aspects worth noticing. First, the coloured contours are best visible along the side of the rift valley. Second, the colour sequence on the left and the right of the valley are reversed (look for the order yellow-green). It is always hard to separate up/down from left/right in these plots (the satellite measures the distance from the satellite to the ground, and if it is not directly overhead it will see both). The reversal suggests that the sides of the rift valley are moving away (or towards) from each other, i.e. rifting. If they were moving up (or down) you would see the same pattern on both sides.

So there is rifting. But there is not much indication for a large dike. That would show up as inflation in the centre and that is not really seen. (Unless it is localized in the feature near the lake coast which coincides with a ridge in the landscape).

We will wait for more data. I think there is rifting between Shaheru and Goma. Whether there is lava inside the rift remains to be seen.

783 thoughts on “Goma: how to live with Nyiragongo

    • Anyway as told before ..
      The next VC article

      The Sicence of Nyiragongo

      Will be a very intresting one..
      Its my idea for Alberts next

      I may be a huge help to him with my knowledge of Nyiragongo.. I will see what more information I can scrape up here.

      Trying to find Photos of the 1890 s years Nyiragongo expedition with the naturalists having a dinner on the crater rim.. seem them on a photo site on internet

      • Could you put what you have into a document and email it to VC? We can use that to create the post

      • Creating a VC article is very much an art form .. like sculpting a beautyful michelangelo statue
        I have not much experience

        And just like You and Carl Im
        Very Busy now .. full up with finding a Student Apartment becomming an Industry Operations Technican in the big energy market

        If you have something going
        You coud use my comments here as guideline

        Can I send all my commentary here Thats edited a bit and structure them under diffrent Nyiragongo information boxes?

        My comments coud be used as potential information pieces to use for in a potential post.

        Can I Send them highly structured? .. wont be a post But very good information of Nyiragongo .. under diffrent tropics about the volcano

        Coud be very useful in a potential post!

        • You could do a great post, Jesper; probably several.

          Stick what you want to talk about into a Word document. The admins can sort out uploading it and posting it. – and give any advice, if needed.

          Look forward to your posts. 😀

        • Don’t worry about the structure. We will use the information and perhaps add things where relevant, and rewrite

  1. Gustav Adolf von Götzen was the first European to see the lava lake in 1894 .. just needs to find the photos

  2. Now that was interesting – at least I thought so. On the Langihryggur live cam ~9:37, during one of the eruptive cycles – there was a sudden huge belch of dirty brown smoke. Very distinctive from the nice clean white stuff that we usually see.

    • Thanks for giving the time; I was trying to find it again to see if anything had collapsed (this is what usually causes brown smoke).

      • At 9:37:07 you can see a bit of the back of the cone dropping into the lava. The back cloud pops out a few seconds later

        • Don’t know if this will post; may be too many links. But here are screen grabs.

          Just before:

          Block slipping:

          Just afterward:


          Where it fell from still glowing:

  3. Some activity SE of Loihi

    2021-06-03 08:25:19 2.1 10.5
    2021-06-03 06:23:29 2.1 9.6
    2021-06-03 05:04:06 2.9 8.2
    2021-06-03 04:44:32 4 10.8
    2021-06-02 18:34:56 3 10.1
    2021-06-02 15:45:59 3 32.8
    2021-06-02 04:26:53 2.5 9.9
    2021-06-02 04:06:08 2.5 7.9

  4. Kind of a surprise to myself because I thought to have recorded the Langihryggur camera instead I recorded the Fagradalsfjall camera.
    From 20h yesterday until 7h20 this morning.
    It’s a slow timelapse again but there’s quit a lot to see which was my second surprise.


    • Thank you. I didn’t want that to end. The clouds and the laminating lava flows were fantastic together.

      The original twin cones are really lost now. Have they become part of the exit ramp from the big cone, or are they just gone?

      • They still exist as a small hump and a red colouration in the lava field, here are two screenshots taken from this 3d photometry model: https://skfb.ly/o6JrQ That I really recommend to investigate to get a good lay of the land around the eruption 🙂

        • Thanks Beni. Short but glorious life for those two.

          Crazy how we tended to personify them, giving them names, calling them “twins” or “brothers”. Saying “short but glorious life”.

          R.I.P. ; )

    • i’m so glad You did this….. fascinating…. and i do believe that’s ‘Diana’s’ vent. (i don’t mean to insult anyone else who believe’s it’s theirs; it’s just i was talking to Diana about that spot. This room is so big i can’t keep up with all the conversations) DIANA…. don’t miss this. Serendipidy.

    • Superb.
      The opening of lava-tube skylight opening up was amazing.
      What an opportunity to see how these things evolve in real time.

  5. After some days off from volcano. First think it slow down little at Iceland. Check little measurements (if they haven’t met ve camera ) And it do grow this dome. So much that the erouptions almost looks small. And the volume inside crater probably effect the visible power. Still wonder if the weight of this thing start to effect the plumbing system. Have it been any new measurements on out flow !? Sorry if this been answering haven’t look back on comments 🙂

  6. 2021-06-02: Seismic data, recorded to date, indicate a continuing decrease in the number and magnitude of earthquakes and magnitude of earthquakes (most of them are not felt); the direction is southward under the lake. direction is towards the south, under the lake. The GPS network still indicates a decrease in the displacement velocities measured at the stations. The physical impossibility of installing seismic or GPS stations in the lake makes it impossible to detect to accurately detect any upwelling of magma beneath the lake. New satellite data recorded between 27 May and 1 June show that the ground continues to deform south of the town of Goma, albeit at a much slower rate than at the beginning of the than at the beginning of the eruption. These deformations can still create or extend existing ground fractures in the ground.

    • I can advice the check the original French version, The translation is a bit artificial.

  7. Working on a draft for my First ever volcanocafe article! .. it will be heavly modifyed by Albert

    • Appreciate and wish good luck! With your knowledge and the help it will certainly be great. And as everybody here is very friendly albeit critical enough, you shouldn’t be nervous. Waiting for it.

    • Well Im terrible at writing articles
      But this will be my very first try

      • Wow .. thats a really ugly avatar face .. looks like infamous Turtlebirdman! 😂
        Only diffrences is that he was Pink pale .. and with a mouth with a tooth sticking out LoL

        Its me typning gmail wrong typning too fast

      • First things first: a picture is a thousand words story. Pick some, let your mind be led by explaining it, then this will drive you according to your intent to the main ideas you’ve want to present…the words will come easely…everybody knew how to tell stories….Good luck!

  8. The recent lava flows into Meradalir exhibit two contrasting phases: a silver-gray phase, presumably pahoehoe lava, and a black phase, presumably aa lava. If you look at this camera http://brunnur.vedur.is/myndir/webcam/2021/06/03/webcam_meradalahnukurSSV.html between 2021-06-03 08:50 and 10:30, you will see black lava overriding recent silver-gray lava at the right side of the valley. I wonder what conditions create these very different appearing lavas. Are the aa lavas cooler as a result of residing for some time in a lava lake before release? The pahoehoe lavas could then be newer flows arriving directly from the eruption cone.

  9. Apparently dropping dirt on Martian Solar Panels helps clean them..


    NASA’s InSight Mars Lander Gets a Power Boost

    More recently, several members of the science team started pursuing the counterintuitive technique of trickling sand near – but not directly on top of – the panels. Matt Golombek, a member of the InSight science team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, which manages the mission, noted that it might be possible to strike dust on the panels with sand grains that would “saltate,” or hop off the solar panel surface and skip through the air in the wind. The larger grains might then carry off the smaller dust particles in the wind.

    To try the technique, the team used the scoop on InSight’s robotic arm to trickle sand next to InSight’s solar panels on May 22, 2021, the 884th sol of the mission, at around noon Mars time – the windiest time of day. It was easiest for InSight’s arm to be positioned over the lander’s deck, high enough for the winds to blow sand over the panels. Sure enough, with winds blowing northwest at a maximum of 20 feet (6 meters) per second, the trickling of sand coincided with an instantaneous bump in the spacecraft’s overall power.

    “We weren’t sure this would work, but we’re delighted that it did,” Golombek said.

    While it’s no guarantee that the spacecraft has all the power it needs, the recent cleaning will add some helpful margin to InSight’s power reserves.

    • That looks like a huge collapse, it even made a small dent outside the usual crater, seems like a bigger draining than 2002 or 1977.

      • It looks like these sirts of rapud lake drain eruptions are a combination if an intrusion and the lake passively draining into the rift above the intrusion separately. That way you ebd up with a bigger collapse than the eruption even though in theory at such a shallow depth the intrusion volume should be relatively minor.

        Same applies to Kilauea in 1823, possibly a big southwest rifting event that stayed underground like in 1975 or 1982 but with a massive lava lake in the caldera it created an opportunity for that to drain through the shallow surface structures above sea level. 1832 might have been more of an east rift event so didnt connect a shallow rift to the caldera directly, abd 1868 and 1919 were not deep southwest rift intrusions.

        • Yes, it is quite an interesting combination that of Nyiragongo. I don’t think it applies to Kilauea though, 1823 and 1832 were very shallow drainings of a lava lake that at its highest levels occupied all of the Kilauea Caldera, and at its lowest only the innermost of the three nested collapses that made up the caldera.

          Kilauea was visited only two weeks after the 1823 eruption, the lava lake level had fallen to the inner caldera but was still there, a huge sea of lava agitated in waves. The level it had achieved before can’t be known though,

          The draining of 1832 was monstrous, numbers out there do not make it any justice, the lava lake level fell from occupying the whole caldera down to the innermost, about 1 km3, all the lava that had been supplied to Hawaiian volcanoes for 10 years was released at once somewhere into the submarine slopes of Kilauea, but the dyke must have been very shallow. The summit was visited immediately after the draining and the lava lake was still active albeit small in size compared to after 1823.

          • I forgot to mention, the 1832 event lasted only 2 days or so.

          • Wow, i had played with the idea of a lava lake entirely filling the 2018 caldera for a while now but as plausible as it could be theoretically it really just didnt sound possible, a 1 km3 lava lake. A bit disappointing it was underwater but probably that is for the best, I guess we did have Mauna Loa in 1950, similar magnitude, and possibly a similar mechanism too.

            Would think in 1832 the dike was from a magma chamber on the rift, not direct out of the summit, or it would have erupted somewhere I think. 1840 there were lots of small eruptions along the rift above the main flow.

    • Nyiragongo is reminding me a lot of Kilauea with this draining lava lakes and downhill fissures.

  10. Is the cascade evolving into a lava fan? Maybe this is an intermediate stage moving towards a shield.

  11. Quite a bit of glow over the saddle, now.
    It looks like the outbreak from earlier in the week is being repaved, and there is more glow behind it so maybe a second pulse coming through as well. It’s not easy to see how much it would raise the surface, as the view is quite dark and gloomy at the moment.
    The weather is probably not the best tonight, but it will be interesting to see what things look like in the morning.

  12. The rain on the Langihryggur cam is making it a little difficult to tell for sure, starting at around 3:00 (AM) there is a smallish tendril that is extending from the main fan behind the saddle above the Western Dam. Might be starting it’s path across!

  13. AT 03:16:25am just a minute ago, a huge collapse within the crater

    • Waited about a day for this to happen. The smoke from the top of the cone was a hint. Very spectacular collapse of the outer layers down into the pit.

      • WOW!!! spectacular! Worth the scroll back! Yup that little smokey bit sure had a spectacular demise. Nice Catch!

    • Its impossible to find 6 hours later when I get up, the video isn’t timestamped, just now-(some time).
      Elsewhere someone posted stills which of course persist and are a nice record for later viewers,

      • By increasing the resolution in “settings” you can read the time embedded in the original video.

        -4:40 at this time 07.56 island

      • You can find it, look at the video above but expand to full screen, the small timestamp is on the bottom left. The collapse took place at 03.16 video time (i.e. Icelandic time), not UK time which is 1 hour ahead.

        • There seems to be a lot of hot lava by the saddle as well, ominous for walkers to the hill.

          Start of collapse.

          After collapse.

          • What happened there? Dragons, could you kindly delete that second pic if possible?

            After collapse

  14. That’s a change in behaviour, I think….lava rest hotter and fluid longer, the caldera glow almoust continous….yes there are gheizer like bursts still but somehow the general activity starts be continous…Am I wrong?

    • A video of spectacular lava lake overturning at Geldingadalur.

      • Thank you Abraham Karem for inventing the drone. Thanks to drones, we are being treated to spectacular images we would otherwise never witnessed. Thanks Hector for providing this one.

  15. Theater Hill is now very close to become an island. The lava in Geldingadalir expanded in that direction this morning when the fog stopped us from monitoring it.

    • It seems the lava pool in the nameless valley has expanded towards the cone, the lava river is gone totally. After a pulse the whole lava gush is immediately taken in by the pool. It looks like under surface lava tubes have taken over the transport and leading to numerous lava overturns in Geldingadalir.

      • There seems to be lava tubes leading in several directions, the lava field in Meradalir has expanded quite a lot lately.

        Also note that the tube flows are not impacted by the pulses, they flow steadily all the time, which implies that they are completely driven by the level of the lava lake, not by the eruptions as such.

    • Well, not surprising. It was about to when the fog blocked our vision.

      • Because of the fog there were less people around and the hill was apparently empty. I’ve got mixed feelings about that. Part of me was kind of hoping to watch the rescue operation, knowing that those stupid enough to put themselves in that situation would probably have to pay expensive fees for the ride…

      • Garðaflug is an Icelandic aiborne surveying company. Mostly hired by the Icelandic government, if I am not mistaken.

  16. I hope the fog lifts soon. I’m suffering unseen saddle symptoms and western wall withdrawal.

    • So…frust…rate…ing…
      And now it’s gone black. Has someone raced up there in the fog and are now rushing to park it somewhere nearer?
      hands up who’s staring at a blank screen…

  17. Looking at the weather forecast for the area, there is little chance of any sunshine before midday to 6 PM on Saturday and again on Sunday. The extended forecast is gloomy until June 10.

    • When the mist cleared about half an hour ago I saw it was still untopped.

    • Well, if they want to go onto Theatre Hill, they will have to hot-foot it…. 🙂

    • I see a business opportunity for an enterprising Icelander with a little stall at the saddle selling asbestos footwear. Perhaps rolls of asbestos red carpet for the determined, rule breaking volcano watcher? Fireproof warning tape for the police and emergency services?

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